Engine failure ends Alonso’s Indy 500 bid

Weekend Racing Wrap

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Takuma Sato won the 2017 Indianapolis 500 after several of the Honda-powered runners, including his team mate Fernando Alonso, dropped out with engine problems.

Also last weekend the Formula Renault Eurocup drivers demonstrated you can pass at Monaco and the Japanese Super Formula headed to an obscure former Formula One venue. The Nurburgring Morschleife also hosted its formidable 24-hour race – and two considerably shorter affairs for the World Touring Car Championship.


Race 6: Indianapolis

Takuma Sato won his first Indianapolis 500 after some stern defending in the final few laps from three-time winner Helio Castroneves, five years after throwing away the shot at a win on the final lap while battling Dario Franchitti.

The race ran relatively clean from the start until lap 53, when Jay Howard ran wide into the barriers, the impact breaking his steering. As his car slid back down the track it was for the following drivers to make snap decisions on which direction to go, and pole sitter Scott Dixon chose the inside.

He hit Howard’s car and launched, his car twisting in the air before landing heavily on a barrier on the inside of track, breaking in half and rolling over before eventually coming to a stop. The race was red-flagged while some catch-fencing was replaced that Dixon’s car had torn a hole in. Mercifully both Dixon and Howard were unscathed, though Dixon was later seen limping.

This incident and restart were the first two of eleven cautions throughout the race, with further yellows for a single-car crash by Buddy Lazier, and a five-car incident late-on that eliminated James Davison, Oriol Servia, Will Power, James Hinchcliffe and all but ended Josef Newgarden’s race. The remaining caution periods were for debris, as a number of winglets were strewn over the track during the race.

The Andretti team more or less dominated from the off with Ryan Hunter-Reay, Alexander Rossi, Fernando Alonso and Sato running in a 1-2-3-4 for a portion of the race, but one-by-one they fell leaving Sato to contend with Castroneves, Ed Jones and Max Chilton.

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Hunter-Reay and Alonso – both of whom had led for a number of laps – suffered engine failures, while Rossi’s chances of a repeat victory all but vanished with a botched pit stop. Chilton found himself leading with some clever strategy work around the cautions, but couldn’t hold on and came home fourth after leading the most laps; but still an impressive return given he had earlier been a lap down.

That left Castroneves and Sato to battle out front, with the Andretti driver making the final lead change with five laps to go. Castroneves tried everything but it wasn’t to be; though second was a strong recovery given he had earlier driven underneath Dixon’s flying car, and been handed a penalty for jumping a restart.

Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup

Races 7-8: Monaco


Jenson Button should have checked out Max Defourny’s pass on Dan Ticktum for an example of how to make an overtaking move work at Portier (at 26:00 in the race two video). Defourny distinguished himself with two excellent passes during the weekend’s Eurocup support events: he also nicked the final podium spot off Robert Shwartzman at Massenet in race one.

The massive 30-car field had to be trimmed to 28 in order to fit on the Monaco grid. Will Palmer took victory in race one from pole position, becoming the second member of the Palmer family after brother Jolyon to stand on the top step in the principality. He finished ahead of Sacha Fenestraz and Defourny, while Dan Ticktum was top rookie in fifth.

Fenestraz – who won last year’s single, rain-shortened Eurocup race in Monaco – repeated his victory in race two from pole position ahead of Shwartzman. Palmer capped a good weekend with the final podium spot and Ticktum was top rookie again.

Japanese Super Formula

Race 2: TI Aida

The Okayama circuit which formerly held the Pacific Grand Prix played host to two rounds of the Super Formula championship. Former Williams driver Kazuki Nakajima took victory from pole position in dominant fashion after beiung fortunate to pit during a safety car period. Yuji Kunimoto led the early stoppers, who included Hiroaki Ishiura, Andre Lotterer, Yuhi Sekiguchi, Felix Rosenqivst and Red Bull junior Pierre Gasly. Both Nakajima and Naoki Yamamoto stayed out at the front, a decision that was vindicated when Kazuya Oshima spun and stalled on lap 23, meaning the safety car was deployed. The two pitted and retained their positions, meaning Nakajima led Yamamoto, Kunimoto, Ishiura and Lotterer home.

Despite a late onslaught from Ishiura, race two went to Sekiguchi. Ishiura led from pole ahead of Kenta Yamashita and Lotterer but nearly half of the grid made their mandatory pit stops at the end of the first lap. Ishiura and Yamashita stayed out but Sekiguchi and Lotterer benefited by pitting, the former moving to the head of the field. He resisted Ishiura to win by less than half a second. Lotterer was third and of Rosenqvist, Kamui Kobayashi and Yamashita.

Race two video not available yet.

Euroformula Open

Races 3-4: Spa-Francorchamps

Ameya Vaidyanathan took his first win in the championship in race one after overtaking polesitter Harrison Scott for the lead early on. Scott finished second ahead of Devlin DeFrancesco, who made his first appearance on a EuroFormula Open rostrum.

Scott took the victory in race two from sixth on the grid with a commanding performance to take a 39-point lead in the championship over Vaidyanathan. Behind, DeFrancesco went one better than race one with a second, while Thiago Vivacqua finished in third. Polesitter Nikita Troitskiy had a tough start, falling to fourth place by the end of the Kemmel Straight and eventually finished in sixth position.


Race 12: Charlotte

Austin Dillon won the Coca-Cola 600, coasting to the end on fumes to take the number 3 back to victory lane for the first time since Dale Earnhardt in 2000. The car is owned by Dillon’s grandfather Richard Childress, who retired the number initially following Earnhardt’s death in the 2001 Daytona 500, but returned it the car for his own grandson.

Dillon only led the final two laps after passing Jimmie Johnson late on – who had run out of fuel. The pair of them were among eight drivers who had stayed out when a number of cars – included the strongest race runners to that point – pitted for the final time with 32 laps to run. Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jnr were two of those and rapidly closing on the lead at the end, but Dillon has just enough to hold on.

World Rallycross Championship

Race 5: Great Britain

Petter Solberg won his first World Rallycross round of the year as Lydden Hill hosted it’s final race in the series, with the British round set to move to Silverstone next season.

Solberg took the win ahead of Johan Kristoffersson who vaults into the championship lead past Mattias Ekstrom who could only manage fourth, while Andreas Bakkerud completed the podium. Rallycross turned British Touring Car driver Andrew Jordan was also in action and made the semi-finals, but a poor start saw him just miss out on a place in the final six, finishing eighth overall.

World Touring Car Championship

Races 7-8: Germany


The World Touring Cars made their annual trip to the Nordschliefe for two three-lap races, in a round that saw the championship leader endure a torrid day.

Thed Bjork won the opening race but the main story – as in past years and practice – was punctures; most notably the one that hit former championship leader Tiago Monteiro on the final lap, putting him out of the points and limping to the line.

This also caused repercussions in race two as he was unable to join the grid in time – he should have started fourth – and was instead forced to start from the pit lane, where he was unable to make much progress and finished without points once more. This left Nicky Catsburg to take the win after jumping pole sitter Norbert Michelisz at the start, and with it the championship lead.

Guest Series: 24 Hours Nurburgring

Race 1: Nordschleife

On the face of it, the Nurburgring 24 Hour race was a relatively straightforward affair: the 29 Audi Sport Team Land car led the majority of the race and won by a clear 30-second margin. However, this was far from a straightforward race, and for the second time in as many years, the result was only decided on the final lap of the legendary circuit.

In qualifying the shock was that the GT3/SP9 runners were all beaten by the Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus SPX class car which took pole position with an excellent lap. However their challenge gradually faded in the race and the 29 Audi emerged as the clear leader with just over an hour to go. But disaster stuck as they had to stop for a system reset, dropping them to third position.

Rene Rast’s Audi Sport Team WRT number nine car then took the lead with the 98 ROWE BMW with Nicky Catsburg in second, and the order looked set. But a steadily increasing rain showed created drama. When the delayed 29 Audi with Kelvin van der Linde suffered more issues with a loose fuel filler cap, the team quickly removed the new slicks they had fitted and opted for wets. Next time around most of the Nordschleife was sodden and the two leading cars were forced to pit after losing huge amounts of time, letting the 29 Land Audi car back into the lead on the final lap despite their numerous troubles.

The final podium palces were set when Catsburg overtook Rast for second in the treacherous conditions. The number 42 Schnitzer BMW was a distance fourth while defending champions Mercedes AMG Team Black Falcon finished 7 minutes down. Both Glickenhaus cars suffered issues, with the 702 car in 20th and the pole-sitting 704 an unclassified 71st after an accident, while the other fan favourite Opel Manta Foxtail failed to finish after numerous troubles.

World Series Formula V8 3.5

Races 7-8: Jerez

The Jerez circuit proved an overtaking-free zone as usual for the Formula V8 cars. Roy Nissany led the procession in race one while Pietro Fittipaldi moved up to second after pole sitter Egor Orudzhev retired.

Orudzhev beat Fittipaldi to turn one in race two but the Lotus driver muscled back ahead at turn three to reclaim his lead. Most of the drivers made their mandatory pit stops shortly after the window opened leading to no changes among the top positions. That left Fittipaldi to take a win which leaves him a point behind team mate Rene Binder at the top of the standings.

Video not available yet.

Also last weekend

Sebastian Vettel won the Monaco Grand Prix after a strategic ‘overcut’ helped him to pass Kimi Raikkonen in the pits. A similar strategy jumped Daniel Ricciardo to third past Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen, while Lewis Hamilton finished seventh after his poor qualifying performance.

For the third time in three race Charles Leclerc took pole position in F2, but a botched pit stop caused damage to his front right wheel and forced him out of his home race. Oliver Rowland picked up the win and moved within three points of Leclerc at the top of the standings. Last year’s winner Artem Markelov came second ahead of Honda junior Nobuharu Matsushita. McLaren junior Nyck de Vries won Saturday’s sprint race sprint race from second on the grid after jumping team mate Johnny Cecotto at the start. The latter came home second ahead of Gustav Malja while Leclerc retired again.

Over to you

What racing action did you watch last weekend? Let us know in the comments.

Next weekend’s racing

The following series are in action next weekend:

  • IMSA race 5: Detroit
  • IndyCar races 7-8: Detroit
  • NASCAR Cup race 13: Dover

Thanks to Robert Mathershaw (@mathers) for contributing to this article.

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110 comments on “Engine failure ends Alonso’s Indy 500 bid”

  1. That was bad luck for Fernando, but I still think he should seriously consider full Indycar season if his ultimate goal is the Triple Crown. He could gather experience, consistently fight for victories, maybe even become a champion in 2018 and genuinely enjoy himself in the process. As much as I love F1 his talents go to waste here.

    1. I think the main point here is, he still is desperate to get another F1 WDC crown, still you can win an Indy 500 at 40+ years old, and the same probably applies to the LeMans24hr. But switching now to put those two in the bag, in order to come back to F1 at an age of 40 doesn’t work as you would be in any case too old to perform consistently in F1 to take the championships. I think this is the correct way, then: stay in F1 until you get a competitive car, and in the meanwhile, go for the Indy500 and the LeMans24; so in case he gets one of those, when he retires from F1 he only has 1 remaining.
      Hope this makes sense.

      1. He doesn’t *need* to come back to F1 “if his ultimate goal is the Triple Crown”. He’s already an F1 champion, hence if his goal was only the triple, he’d leave F1 tomorrow. The fact he’s not leaving says that isn’t his goal.

        1. Read my first statement: “he still is desperate to get another F1 WDC crown[…]”
          That qualifies as a goal to me

      2. @alfa145 On some level it makes sense, but staying in F1 at the age of 34-36 didn’t do him much good either. You can only win WDC if you have a WDC capable car. Staying at McLaren isn’t worth it in my opinion. He could switch to Indy and still try to negotiate with top F1 teams for a possible shot at WDC. I know that people hope that one day, when Honda does its job, Alonso will be able to lift McLaren up, but to be honest I don’t see it in foreseeable future. Should he jump teams? Next year he has nothing to look for in Mercedes or Ferrari, as they both have their #1 drivers. Red Bull? They’re not quite there, so he’d end up in similar place he was with Ferrari: just outside of the top spot. I don’t see a viable option for him at the moment.

        Sure you can win Indy 500 at an age of 40, but Alonso will be 37 next year and it rarely takes just one attempt. Just for the reference: there was only one driver over 40 who won it in the modern era (last 22 years) and that was Arie Luyendyk in 1997. Eddie Cheever, Juan Pablo Montoya and Takuma Sato won it when they were 40 and all remaining Indy 500 winners were younger (nine were in their 30’s and nine in their 20’s). Average age of Indy 500 winner over that period is 33.

        @gweilo8888 I think the idea of seriously fighting for the Triple Crown came to him last year. At least I don’t remember him mentioning that before 2016.

        1. 1)No top team would take you back after 2 years missing, at 38 years old, even if you are FA.
          2)Sato just won it at 40, wich if we don’t want to be pedantic proves my point, indeed

          1. @alfa145
            1) As evidenced by Michael Schumacher. Oh wait…
            2) I mentioned Sato. He’s one of four 40+ drivers who won Indy 500 in the last 22 years. And he did it in his 8th attempt, when he admittedly delivered a great drive, but also got a bit lucky. It proves what exactly? At what age do you think Alonso should jump to Indy? He doesn’t have that much time.

  2. Saw most of the Indy500 (first time).
    Some excitement but not impressed with a show like that; too many dangerous accidents and stoppages, and overtaking is not as much an art as in F1 (last time).

    Super impressed with Alonso. He was at the front during the whole race, and overtook on both the inside and the outside even when claiming the lead (albeit mostly against team-mates).
    He was ahead of Sato when his engine broke down, and was more impressive IMO than Sato (Rossi and Hunter-Raey seemed to be stronger opposition).
    This is clearly one for him which ‘could have been’.

    1. Some folk are not motorsports fans and just plain and simply ‘f1’ fans. I guess thats fine in an ‘f1’ website, but one of the greatest drivers ever in f1 just said he did not miss monaco and that thousands of people could not sit down for 3 hours because of how great yhe indy 500 is. I wish more f1 fans were open to other racing series, as 99% of other series have better racing.

      1. I have no problem admitting I don’t like all motorsports, bike racing leaves me cold, so too carts, though rally I like a lot. Other stuff I just don’t have time for. But I watched the entire Indy 500 this year, entirely because of Alonso, and, yes, it was good entertainment. However I kind of agree with @f1-liners that a lot of the spectacle seemed to revolve around crashes. That at least is what I picked up from the US commentary I was listening to: a fair amount of background thrill over the collisions, seen as part of the race, contrasting with the concern over Wehrlein’s crash at Monaco, for example.

        And more generally I just find US insularity annoying, ‘the best circuit in the world’ – come on, with Spa out there? One dose a year is more than enough.

        1. Chip Hilton
          29th May 2017, 16:18

          American fan here. Love both IndyCar and F1. I understand the why self-congratulory comments would be grating. But most IndyCar races are not on ovals, they’re on street and road courses. One reason I enjoy the series so much is the many different challenges it presents the drivers. If you get the opportunity, give it a look sometime away from an oval.

          1. Thanks for the reply Chip, I’ll take your suggestion and watch out for some of the other races.

          2. Kurt (@dangerpaws)
            29th May 2017, 18:42

            Suggestion…..try to watch the Road America race. That track is the “Spa” of North America.

          3. Chip Hilton
            29th May 2017, 20:33

            Word of warning, though, David: If you hate DRS, you are going to REALLY hate what Indy calls “Push to Pass,” which lets a driver boost his power with the touch of a button. You can only use it a total of two minutes or so in any one race, so you have to pick your spots. They don’t use it on ovals.

          4. I wouldn’t make assumptions, Chip. I despise F1’s DRS too, but If it’s as you describe, I think that system is by far preferable to DRS.

            The reasons why:

            * At least the name is honest about the intent. In F1 we pretend that DRS passes are still about skill and talent. We don’t acknowledge that they are more about pressing a button your competitor wasn’t allowed to press at the same time.

            * At least they’re fair. Every driver has two minutes per race to use when and how *they* see fit. In F1, one driver can conceivably be allowed to use DRS for the entire race from shortly after the start until the end, while another driver is allowed to use it for 5% of the time, and the only difference between the two is that one was fractionally closer to the car in front of him than the other.

            As usual,F1 implements rules in the least sporting way possible, and for that I despise DRS. If something like DRS had been implemented in a fair and sporting way that never gives an advantage to one driver that wasn’t also available to his rival, had he or she chosen to reserve it for that point. That’s the *right* way to do it.

        2. Jorge Olivier
          29th May 2017, 19:09

          That’s how autoracing is in the USA. I used to watch IndyCar, CART, ChampCar, IRL when I was younger because of Adrian Fernandez –I’m Mexican–, but I watched the races in local channels or ESPN Latin America and they focused mostly in the race. Then when I finished college I was offered a job in the US and I moved there, and pretty much stopped watching it because the constant focus on the “spectacle”, the self-congratulatory comments and clichés, and the American tradition of placing commercials or changing focus to anything else –who was in the pits, a clip showing how a wing worked– during green flag while staying on air during yellow flags. Just like yesterday, we didn’t have a proper look at the start because the director couldn’t decide what was more important, showing the novelty of a helmet camera or what actor was waving the green flag. But the races are mostly good –they were better but they artificially equalized the grid, again, for “improving the spectacle”–, if only they focused on them and broadcasted them correctly.

        3. “that a lot of the spectacle seemed to revolve around crashes”

          Not long ago the BBC was promoting an upcoming F1 race by showing ‘action’ from the previous race Monaco, the clip was all crashes.

    2. I find fun too, I used to see some races of the series when I was younger, simply because they were broadcast in Eurosport Portugal, but it has been quite a long time since I saw one of those races.

      I can see why people like, for me it is too much down to luck in the end. I guess that unpredictability is what draws people to that sort of Motorsport.

      Is very different from F1, I would say that is really a matter of taste and what you are looking for in Motorsports, it is not a question of having one over the other. I might see a few more races, don’t know about following a full season, as the time zone doesn’t help a lot, but still had some fun yesterday.

    3. I get what you’re saying about the overtaking.
      But it’s an adjustment you have to make.
      Overtaking on an oval is different from normal racing.
      It’s more strategy. You need to position yourself, time to perfection (little offline could be the end).
      And it’s about fuel milage why you draft and overtake (look at the andretti tandem working together).

      And in the end you have to have the fuel and position to go for it.
      It’s just different.

      I loved the race, Fernando was the star of the race. He and Ryan Hunter-Ray had the best car imo.
      Too bad both had failures.

    4. Andre Furtado
      29th May 2017, 17:56

      I agree. Personally thought it was quit boring. If it wasn’t for the accident just as boring as Monaco usually is.

    5. Regarding comments about overtaking at the Indy 500, how is this slipstreaming any different to classic (pre-chicane) Monza back in the 50s and 60s golden days?

    6. @f1-liners My only problem with the 500 particularly of late is that you need a lot of luck to still be in contentious on the last restart out of yellows and often it is under yellows that the victor is decided.
      Alonso was quieter on the 2nd half of the race but was just starting to push much like Sato for track position after that last restart. Alonso eventually would have need to put some risky manoeuvres like Castroneves who almost won.

  3. This is potentially tragically hilarious but I have every reason to believe it was just lack of his experience that made him demand too much from that engine. Oval racing is mainly engine and fuel management, so just because it was just another Honda braking down behind Fernandos back does not mean he had nothing to do with it.

    1. Given that the exact same thing happened to Hunter-Reay who’s a seasoned pro and an Indy500 winner himself, with the engine just dying with no warning, same sound etc, I doubt it is lack of experience more than it’s just a pretty inconsistent engine.

      1. Inconsistent? I think it pretty consistently fails in the same fashion for many different drivers ;)

      2. Well, its a Honda.

        1. The worst PR ever for Honda….

    2. petebaldwin (@)
      29th May 2017, 12:16

      Before it went, the commentators were talking about which Honda engine would go bang first. Seems Honda is viewed as a joke worldwide!

      1. The best bit was one of the commentators observing after Fernando’s departure: ‘well, they can’t all explode! one of them will probably win!’

    3. Engine management? There’s not much engine management as they basically run full throttle for 200 laps.
      4th, 5th and 6th gears are almost identical.
      And since you have ‘every reason to believe it’s a lack of experience’ maybe you can share your insight? Everyone says the Honda engine is unreliable and I didn’t see him put a foot wrong but maybe you have more infos?

      1. Race any good sim that has Indy (iRacing, etc), or a low banked similar thing. Or if you have money, do some real life flat oval racing. Either way race competent people at the limit.

        You have no idea.

        Alonso’s confidence and feel on that high side of the groove is not a common thing. Reminds me of Mears v Johncock (82 Indy).

      2. you say you run full throttle 100% of the time and therefore you don’t have engine management. but (altough I’m sure it goes even deeper than this) the sole fact that you can go with 3 different gears implies you can put different loads to the engine, at will. If you use fifth to have more torque because you are going for a pass, or use sixth for the same trait of track but accept that you won’t go for that pass to me looks like a simple case of engine management.

        1. Having said what I said above, there is an argument to put some of the engine blame on Alonso, but not so much the gears. He seemed to shift much like anyone else.

          However, (and I need to watch again to make sure it isn’t audio artifact or something), Alonso did seem to sort of modulate throttle in corners (you DO have to back off a lot, be it baulked by another car, or bad set of tires, etc) in a road course-y way, which is to say stabby and less smooth. This is often better on road courses on moderate to short races, because it can give you better grip sampling on exits. But on long oval races it can increase driveline strain. I’d guess Le Mans has the same trade-off, but I dont really know.

      3. Full throttle is not the same as 100% engine demand.
        Have you ever heard about engine maps?
        Well, Indy cars’ engines have up to 50 different working modes…

    4. Amaury Diaz
      29th May 2017, 15:03

      Honda have bad reliability this year because two things. Teams asked Honda to get more power so Honda did. The second issue is that Honda did not prepare properly the engine to handle that increased power. That is why you see many blow ups. You will see next year the engine will be bulletproof like always.

    5. Jorge Olivier
      29th May 2017, 18:40

      No, Honda has problems with its IndyCar engine. I guess you only watched the race, but before, considering practices and qualifying, nine Honda engines broke. And many others in previous races. I think all Andretti cars had engine failures in Long Beach except Marco’s.

    6. It wasn’t lack of experience. Mclaren needs to be congratulated, also Andretti and Alonso and even Honda. All 6 Andretti cars were quick, 4 of them super quick, the engine looked perhaps a bit more powerful than Chevy. RHR suffered a relatively early blow out and Rossi was so unlucky. I wonder what lead the Honda’s to blow up, particularly Andretti’s, I question if the problem might have been exacerbated by the fact the Andretti’s were running so low, sparking on several occasions throughout the track, all that friction and heat on the underneath of the engine and the sump should rise the internal temperature of the oil significantly.

      1. Dry Sump?

    7. The 500 is the most difficult for any engine to last through. They are stressed to the limit, and longer than any other race. Four of the top five were Honda’s. Too bad Alonso’s couldn’t have made it to the end.

  4. Loved the fact that the race was streamed live on Youtube, would love to see F1 try something similar.
    But the ads were ridiculously long and frequent.

    1. Sundar Srinivas Harish
      29th May 2017, 11:56

      Were the previous years races streamed though? If they weren’t, ‘Nando is seriously working up a media dream :)

    2. @sravan-pe It wasn’t live streamed on youtube…. Not legally at least.

      The non televised practice sessions were on youtube but anything that was been shown live on USTV (Qualifying, Carb day & the race) wasn’t been officially streamed.

      1. @gt-racer
        Ah, okay. Seems like I’ve given myself away there :p
        New to indy, but still those ads (on ESPN I think it was) drove me nuts… :\

        1. Chip Hilton
          29th May 2017, 17:19

          The ads are a plague but they foot the bill. Even if you’re used to them it’s bad, but if you’re not it would be infuriating.

    3. I too saw the race via Youtube. I had contacted my legal on line F1 GP race supplier about the Indianapolis 500 and they said they weren’t going to show the race even though their parent company held the rights to broadcast it. Maybe there wasn’t much interest in Indy car racing before Alonso went to race at Indianapolis. Anyway, if the race wasn’t on Youtube then I don’t think I would have been able to watch the race. Adverts? They pay for the race, and if you’re watching it via Youtube it’s easy enough to jump ahead a few minutes. The choice really is do you want to pay to watch cars with hardly any advertising racing in front of half full grand stands or watch cars with lots of advertising on them racing for free on line or on TV (with adverts) with full grand stands? Often the adverts were slotted into Yellow Flag and Red Flag events, so you’re not missing a lot of action anyway. Looking at the number of people in the grand stand and the amount of advertising on the cars made me suspect the Indy car races are broadcast on Free to Air TV.
      I really think the attitude of F1 towards showing the races on Youtube is out of date. Maybe keeping the races from Youtube was a good idea a decade or two ago, but what does F1 gain by it now? Entertainment is a competitive industry. Restricting the viewing of F1 races hurts the F1 teams and the stadiums. According to the Youtube “Views” counter, more than 46,000 people viewed the second half of the Indianapolis 500 race, while the number of views for the F1 Monaco GP highlights was over 572,000.
      How difficult would it be to upload a full race like the Monaco GP to Youtube to see how many views it gets?

      1. > legal on line F1 GP race supplier

        Details, please. I am not aware of a legal way to watch F1 races online with the exception of companies like Comcast offering streaming TV *if* you’re also subscribed to that station for regular TV viewing. But that’s not an “online race supplier” in my book, it’s an offline one providing an online stream.

        If there’s a way to ditch Comcast TV entirely but not lose legal access to my F1 races both live and tape-delayed, I want to know it please.

        1. @gweilo8888 I live in New Zealand. You can watch the races via a website called Fanpass, which is a subsidiary of SkyTV, who own the broadcast rights here. You need to pay a subscription fee to watch on line. It was much cheaper than getting the Sky Sports package, but recently the price of watching online increased and the cheaper viewing packages were removed. I haven’t checked the price comparison with their other products, but I will be reviewing the price at the end of this season because the price I pay will increase from February, 2018.
          I believe Fanpass have restrictions in place to prevent people from outside NZ from watching the races.
          The website is https://fanpass.co.nz/home .

  5. Two very different races, two very different spectacles yesterday – the F1 race in Monaco and the Indy 500. As opposite as… dark gray and buttery white (just so I don’t say black and white). One race where you were wondering if something can happen (hoping for that one amazing overtake), one where you were wondering if something can remain unchanged – you’re at the end of the pack now, at the front later – if you’ve got the bElls for it.

    I’m a diehard F1 fan, but I cheered for Alonso like a mad man. The Indy 500 was a great show: simple cars, decent budgets, hundreds of thousands of fans, bElls of steel and an amazing sense of speed. I just loved seeing those flowers blown by the wind of cars passing by. Amazing! :)

    All in all, two worlds a million miles apart. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed immensely both races. But next year, with the new Indycar aero kit,… with deliciously looking good cars,… I just wonder if something will change in my motorsport watching behavior.

    My vote for yesterday goes for Indy 500! F1 still rocks, but hats of to Indycar.

    PS: I keep wondering what would an official GPDA opinion of Indycar racing would be. The ‘halo’ subject is just like ‘global warming’ – there’s talk of it but nothing happens. In the meantime, drivers race their behinds off in North America and most of them seem to have a big ‘boy, am I satisfied’ smile on their faces when doing interviews.
    PPS: Honda should change their slogan to ‘The mirage of dreams, the power of deceit’. Even with the win… hard times for them.

    1. +1 perfectly stated

    2. Agreed, it was the first time I’ve watched the whole 500 and I’ll be doing it again now. It’s been a great weekend of racing with that and Monaco both providing unique challenges.

      I still wouldn’t watch indycar every week because it seems a bit random on ovals although I would love to see F1 there. I would actually bet on f1 cars being slightly faster but I doubt they would slip stream so well.

    3. @daniboyf1, don’t confuse the state of affairs at the Indy 500 with the rest of the Indycar calendar though, especially since the Indycar series have been running an abnormally high number of publicity events for the Indy 500 in the past couple of years.

      For example, last year Barber Motorsports Park revealed the attendance figures for the Indycar race they held – the cumulative attendance figures over all three days of the race was just under 84,000, or an average attendance figure of just under 28,000 people per day, and that was probably one of the more successful events outside of the Indy 500.

      Even the recent surge at the Indy 500 is a relatively recent affair – last year was the first time that the Indy 500 had sold out for nearly 20 years, and as recently as 2015 the crowds at the Indy 500 were, according to the IMS, only around two thirds of the size of the crowd this year.

      The major publicity blitz for last year (the 100th running of the Indy 500), plus the major hype the series created around Alonso, has made the situation look much better than it is. I saw quite a few of the longer standing Indycar fans cynically suggest that the organisers hyped Alonso up especially hard to disguise the fact that they almost failed to find enough entries for the race – the 2016 race also almost failed to have enough entrants, so things aren’t quite as healthy amongst the teams as you might think.

  6. One aspect that I really liked in the Indy was the incredible uncertainty. The qualifying results mean almost absolutely nothing. Almost any instant the front-runner can be changed. And there are so many strong contenders, who all are fairly equal. There is always action happening and the fuel-aspect is so clutch too.

    1. That takes most of the interest *out* of it for me. It’s the fight to earn and consolidate positions which I find exciting. If you’re constantly changing order through the whole race then effectively that race doesn’t even start until the final lap, and that just takes all the fun out of it.

      If I wanted to see random, I’d just head down to the nearest interstate and watch traffic go by for a few hours.

      And before I’m told I know nothing about Indy, I attended the 2015 race weekend, and watched the entire race from within the pagoda, the adjacent VIP stands and the pit lane. I walked on the grid prior to the race. I even got to sit *on* the pit wall during the race while pit stops were taking place right in front of me.

      The level of access I had as a VIP was amazing. The level of access the average fan had compared to F1 was equally amazing. But the racing was mediocre at best.

  7. Alex McFarlane
    29th May 2017, 12:11

    Honda: (not) the power of (Alonso’s) dreams.

  8. I haven’t been this impressed with a drivers skill since Max’s showing in Brazil.

    To me, this has to go down as one of the greatest showings ever from a F1 driver outside of the sport. In an age where most drivers are focusing on a single discipline, he was always around the top 10 in a category so far out of his comfort zone and never looked out of position once. Alonso battled seasoned legends of Indycar as if he did this a hunderd times before and took no prisoners going inside and out. He looked like ”one of them” instead of ”the new kid on the block”.

    This showing should make him think about his future in motorsport. I loved seeing him competitive again and if the F1 team can’t provide the needs to do so, then Indycar seems like a pretty good alternative right about now.

    I can say nothing more but hats off to Fernando.

    1. Crossover dirving is always impressive when the driver succeeds. I love it too.

      Kurt Busch as a recent Indy 500 dirver. Well before that, Mansell, Fittipaldi, etc, of course. But back when, Foyt, Andretti, Clark, Hill, etc, etc, all crossed over to lots of stuff all the time. Awesome.

      Nowadays, there is a type of racing where the corssover driver mix is stunning, and the racing is pure crack-hit. RX, as in WRX and GRC.

    2. @Ruben Well said.

      1. I agree. That race showed Nando still has it. He looked like he was enjoying himself too, which we haven’t seen much of these last few years.

  9. I like Sato and am happy for him, but he is no top tier driver.

    I do not understand what Alonso wants to prove in indy,
    a race won by a Rookie like Rossi last year, and where Chilton was competitive this year.

    He could have done something in Monaco, maybe even beat Hamilton but instead he is racing mediocre drivers in indy.
    He can go there and still win it many years after he lost his edge in F1.

    1. I do not understand what Alonso wants to prove in indy,


    2. Chip Hilton
      29th May 2017, 17:27

      It was only Sato’s second IndyCar win. Chilton has yet to win. Pastor Maldonado is an F1 race winner. Sometimes lightning strikes. Doesn’t devalue a whole series.

      1. the level is sub par compared to F1, its like how failed or retired MotoGP riders go to SuperBike

        I like superbike and indy car, but you can’t seriously say the drivers are the same quality as F1 and MotoGP

        the triple crown is a nice title, but if he had won he would have had a victory over Sato and Chilton, what an amazing achievment!

        1. Chip Hilton
          29th May 2017, 18:59

          Juan Pablo Montoya won the Monaco GP, then eventually wound up in NASCAR, where he did nothing in six or seven years. Does it mean NASCAR drivers are better than F1 drivers? Of course not. I think plenty of IndyCar stars like Dixon, Power, Kanaan and Castroneves could have made a good showing in F1 if they had taken that path.
          It’s interesting that everyone in F1 is constantly calling it the “pinnacle of motorsport.” I suppose it is, but why must everyone say it 15 times on every broadcast? I’ve never heard anyone in the NBA call it the pinnacle of basketball, and if they were constantly saying it on broadcasts viewers would think they were crazy.

          1. It’s a playground for failed F1 drivers and insular Americans who think the winner of a US-centric race is a “world champion” because as far as they’re concerned, the rest of the world barely exists.

            Sato was a reasonable driver, but short of giving him a car with absolute dominance like Lewis has until recently enjoyed, there was no way he was ever going to win an F1 race, let alone a championship. Now he’s an Indy 500 champion.

            JPM was no F1 champion either, only modestly outperforming his teammate at Williams, another journeyman driver himself in the form of Ralf Schumacher. (Yes, the record books say JPM beat RS in three out of four championships, but one of JPM’s wins over RS in the driver’s championship was by just eight points, and another happened when Ralf was sidelined by injury for 1/3 of the season. And that despite JPM having a car which was the second-best on the grid thru most of his Williams career, and never worse than 4th.) Then he moved to McLaren where he was humiliated by Raikkonen and quit after 1.5 seasons. So again, another driver who simply wasn’t up to the task of being an F1 champion without having an utterly dominant car, but who’s an Indy 500 champion.

            Truth be told, while oval racing is certainly dangerous, it’s not as good a test of driver skill as road racing. That’s why F1 drivers can come into Indy and succeed, but the reverse hasn’t been true for decades.

            Villeneuve was the last to move to F1 with any degree of success, but that was arguably more down to his having the luck to step into what was hands down the best car on the grid for his first two years (including his championship year; he also had the best car on the grid the previous year when he was beaten by Hill.) Take away his dominant car and he was barely able to beat the journeyman Heinz-Harald Frentzen the following year, then the BAR debacle happened. He spent the rest of his career either modestly beating or modestly being beaten by journeymen like Panis, Massa and Heidfeld. The one time he was pitted against an actual world champion (and not a car-selected one) in the form of Fernando Alonso, he was utterly trounced.

            The sad truth is that F1 is a steeper challenge than Indy, which is why the successful drivers like Alonso focus on F1 first and then try Indy late in their careers when it doesn’t make much difference in the bigger scheme of things.

        2. @ Michel

          What rubbish, half the F1 field are paying to drive there, Hows that elite, elitist more like it,
          F1 is best car wins majority of the time, Whens the last time someone out of the top 3 teams won a race?
          If Fred had won Indy he would have beaten Max and Takuma like you say, but also beaten multiple champions of the class,

          1. Name half the F1 pay drivers? 10 names….

            Indy is well beyond regular foke but for elite drivers its no big deal just need to not have bad luck like Alonso. If the situation was reversed I would like to see a top 4 regular Indy driver try Monaco as their 1st F1 race in a top 2 F1 car. I believe they will find it harder than vice versa.

            Its a bit like a low level heavy weight fight being more entertaining to casual viewers than a Mayweather fight. Indy is good but F1 is much much better.

    3. Andre Furtado
      29th May 2017, 17:58

      I agree. I don’t know what the hype is about a race where a rookie can win. Sounds like the challenge isn’t there for this race to be hyped so much.

      1. This was the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500. In the history of the race there have been only nine rookie winners. And, for fairly obvious reasons, three of those came in the first four years of the race. So it’s not exactly easy for a rookie to win, is it?

        Of course Formula One, where rookies are rarely given the chance to drive one of the very small number of cars which are capable of winning races, is a poor basis for comparison.

        1. A rookie, and a half-pie driver at that, can win a F1 race. Provided he gets to drive such an outrageously dominant car as a Ferrari Sharknose. In which two pretty mediocre drivers fought for the title (and sadly one of them got killed), while hugely outscoring much better drivers such as Stirling Moss.

          1. My named my cat after that mediocre driver! Von Trips

          2. Great name for a cat!

            Giancarlo Baghetti was the half-pie driver who won in his maiden race (and pretty much did nothing else of note in his F1 career). AFAIK that’s unique, excepting of course the very first F1 race, won by Giuseppe Farina.

            And maybe I dismissed Phil Hill (the guy who won the WDC after vonTrips death) too sharply. Yes, his history in F1 outside the astonishing Sharknose was mostly unremarkable, but he did very well in endurance races (three victories in Le Mans is nothing to be dismissed). Very nice chap also.

          3. Your cat might like this

          4. And this is my current desktop wallpaper, the 1961 Spa starting grid. You can see Wolfgang von Trips in front of Phil Hill and Olivier Gendebien, all in their Sharknoses (how il Commendatore allowed Gendebien to race in yellow -the Belgian national color for a Belgian pilot in the Belgian GP) I don’t know. Richie Ginther also raced a Sharknose but doesn’t show up in the pic.

            Even though Graham Hill made an incredible start into the lead from the third row in his BRM-Climax it was to no avail, all the Sharknoses had led him behind by the end of L1. The race was crushingly dominated by the Scuderia with an entertaining competition for 5th place between John Surtees and Graham Hill, a minute and a half after the lead, until Hill’s engine gave up the ghost six laps from the end.

      2. Chip Hilton
        30th May 2017, 1:19

        @gweilo — I’ve never heard the Indy 500 winner or the IndyCar series winner called a world champion. It’s Formula One that calls its winner the WDC.
        There are plenty of insular Americans as you describe with such bitterness, but there are just as many F1 snobs who look down their noses at any other kind of racing. I happen to love Formula One and IndyCar in equal measure and feel no need to talk down one at the expense of the other.

      3. @andre I don’t know what the hype is about a race where a rookie can win. Sounds like the challenge isn’t there for this race to be hyped so much.

        Uhm , Senna Monaco Toleman 1984 ? was a rookie, kicked Prosts’ butt but got robbed of victory
        Schumachers first full season ? Spa
        Lewis Hamilton’s rookie season ?
        Villeneuve? any more i forgot about ? Rookie drivers?

        Sounds like the challenge isn’t there for these races to be hyped so much.

        1. Fittapaldi ?
          Weren’t these guys rookies when they won ?

    4. I think you’re being too hard in Indy drivers. Sato has always been a super-aggressive driver – that’s great for Indy but it really bites him at other tracks. Chilton has been trash in IndyCar ever since he joined. My opinion of his driving has gone down since he’s started racing IndyCars. He’s been with one of the 2 strongest teams and been terrible. His Indy 500 performance came out of nowhere – I guess once a clever pit strategy got him out front, he was able to keep his phenomenal car out front for a while.

      There are some good drivers in IndyCar. Scott Dixon is supremely talented on ovals, road, and street tracks; Will Power is super quick, and Pagenaud and Bourdais are great drivers. Not Vettel or Hamilton, but definitely much more than mediocre. Unfortunately, the prize money in IndyCar is peanuts compared to the cost (Matt Brabham’s cut of his prize money for finishing 22nd last year was $1,500). That means you get several mediocre pay drivers filling up seats (Chilton, Kimball, Jack Hawksworth and Stefano Colletti a couple years ago).

  10. I think it would great for motorsport to see Alonso retire from Le Mans with a blown Honda engine, too.

    1. It seems that Honda is Maldonado of racing engines

      1. Paul Ortenburg
        29th May 2017, 17:00

        In F1 it’s the Palmer of engines.

        Constantly under performing and often failing.

  11. With f1’s bizarre claim of road car relevance for current engine spec, i bet honda is not losing any money in road car sales because of motorsport fails.

  12. Alonso had the highest average speed of all drivers with over 20 laps to work his magic.
    Once again Honda ruins it.
    I don’t know how his future can improve. There are no goods options in F1.
    I do think he was taken back by the amount of love he received from the fans and media. He deserves it…..a true legend!
    What a travesty.

  13. Alonso was in contention throughout till his car blew-up. I thought that he was driving an extremely well calculated race and Rossi apart, had the measure of everyone else. When Alonso’ engine gave-up, Rossi was well behind Alonso and slipping out of contention. IMO, Alonso would have won the Indy 500 had his car not broken down.

    I was quite upset and with 3 Guinness Xtra-cold inside me stormed out of the pub and walked home, scowling at nobody in particular.

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      29th May 2017, 14:32

      @loup-garou I agree he was P6 when it blew up and would have made 5 passes – only Castroneves could have been an issue. For a rookie, he looked the best of all the drivers yesterday.

    2. Not so sure, Chilton was one of a few drivers on a different pit stop cycle – despite running up front, alonso/kanaan/rossi lost out, alonso’s p7 was his net position after the final stops – would have taken a big effort to get the trophy from there.

      I was on the outside of turn 2 – the crash with Scott dixon was bigger than it looked on TV – still impressed that with everything behind the safety cell separating from the car he literally git out and walked away from it.

  14. I would have seriously loved Alonso to have won. However, can’t help feeling that even if he tried 10 times, his luck would ensure a blown engine or other issue every time.

  15. It was just spectacular to watch. I’ve watched other Indy 500 races, but never the whole thing from start to finish. It made a huge difference knowing that there was a guy putting his pride and honours on the line. It also meant that for the first time ever I was rooting for someone to win the 500, which also makes it much more enjoyable to watch.

    I’m very sad about the outcome and the slim possibilities of the whole thing to repeat next year. Alonso will need another competitive car in Indy, another team willing to let him go for Monaco, and on top of all that, seriously bad prospects for next season in F1.

    1. 100% guaruntee he will have it in his contract, based on some car competitiveness metrics, that he gets to waive Monaco and do Indy if his F1 car is not proven WDC capable by mid April or so.

      He has the clout (skill, popularity, etc) to do this no problem.

      1. And maybe, just maybe, next year Monaco and Indy 500 won’t be on the same weekend

        1. The 500 is always scheduled on Memorial Day Weekend, a national holiday in the US. FIA always schedules Monaco on the same weekend so F1 drivers can’t do what Alonso did. Move the Monaco date so more F1 drivers can experience the biggest race on earth.

  16. Nothing new there for Alonso, at least the engine penalties from IndyCar don’t cross over to F1 and Button saved him a 15 place grid drop next time out. Why can’t Honda build reliable engines!

  17. The post race interview for those who haven’t seen it.

    The last 30 seconds are cool


    1. The last 30 seconds are cool



  18. Sad thing is he was in a position to WIN, coming on strong at the right time, setting up the next pass, damn shame we’ll never know.

  19. It was heartbreak, he had a podium in hand, his teammate won it, the one teammate who was slower than him…

    He should try to get a Mercedes seat, those Hondas are terrible. Atleast for Alonso. His throttle application when keeping the foot planted for entire race must be at fault…

    1. Chip Hilton
      29th May 2017, 17:22

      I agree Alonso could very well have won it. He looked like the strongest driver out there. But in fairness to Sato, Sato did outqualify Alonso.

    2. I don’t see him getting a seat at Merc, Ferrari or Red Bull.
      Renault is probably his best shot but they aren’t doing well either.
      Sad but I see nothing positive coming his way.

  20. I watched his yesterday and it actually lives up to the hype.

    We had great fun watching it

  21. So much better than the Monaco Grand Prix..
    Alonso made a number of bad decisions through his career, but this one was a winner.

    Button sat on that car and already there was a penalty cuz of the engine. So if Alonso had raced, he would start last.

    In the end he probably would not finish both races, but at least he had some fun on Indy and made a lot of money doing it.

  22. With Ameya’s win is it the first time ever that an Indian anthem has played out at Spa? I don’t think Karun or Narain did much winning, right?

  23. Sorry for Fernando but it still was a positive experience.

    I think it’s safe to say Zak was right on prediction wise – Christian Horner is eating crow:)


  24. Crybaby Alonso: Sato was faster than you and Vettel and Kimi did 1-2 at Monaco. With Ferrari. Remember that team?

    1. I didn’t see any crying, only smiles – one of the best experiences in his racing career.
      Whether he wins again in F1 will not tarnish his reputation as one of the greatest drivers of all time.

      1. Whether he wins again in F1 will not tarnish his reputation as one of the greatest drivers of all time.

        Fully agree and that smiling trick that he pulled with the milk in the post-race interview was a gem to cherish.

    2. the guy definitely needs a good shrink

  25. As far as Indy 500’s go, this year’s was pretty average, with an unusually high number of Indycar high profile drivers either crashed or fell prey to mechanical issues. Still, it was a nice cap to an almost perfect racing weekend, and the last 30 or so laps of the race, with a mighty battle for the lead between the two of F1 washouts, Chilton and Sato, have shown the amount of skills you really need to possess to win this legendary event. My personal condolences go to Helio, once again he came this close to win his 4th Indy, but this time Chevy had no real answer to Honda power-wise. And of course, the cherry on top is Alonso showing that you really can’t run away from it.

  26. Even in Indy Alonso can’t get away from Honda’s reliability issues, hopefully he’ll get another shot soon because he had the pace to really do well.

  27. I hope that those of you who watched the 500 for Alonso stick around and watch the rest of the Indycar season.

    Despite the very slow traffic and missing the first 13 laps due to the poor choice of carpark (as the only option officially available from the track’s website), it was thoroughly enjoyable watching the race from turn 2. Even having seen Jay Howard hitting the wall and predicting the inevitable crash that took out Scott Dixon, we got to see some fantastic racing.

    Going way back, I just about remember Nigel Mansell going to the States in 93 (though the first F1 race I remember watching Senna destroy the field at Donnington) – ITV showed Indycar highlights on the Saturday after the race and I stuck with it through the 90s after seeing some spectacular racing. In 96 I choose my driver to follow but my interest in Indycar, unfortunately, died with Greg Moore (the only crash I’ve seen where I’ve immediately had chills at the likely outcome). The Split also didn’t help, having run to 4 years at that point and making it difficult to decide which series was “more important”.

    It took the loss of Dan Wheldon and the farcical decision to run 34 cars in Las Vegas back in 2011 for me to start following the sport again and since 2012 I’ve seen plenty of close races, fantastic online coverage (including Indycar themselves uploading full race TV broadcast to YouTube, without the ads). Loved watching James Hinchcliffe taking the win in Sao Paulo on the final corner from Takuma Sato and was a joy to see Taku take the 500 yesterday (as I said to the American fan in front of me, a driver with F1 experience won the race, just not the one we all thought would). Since that race in 2011, the series has been making the right calls regarding safety, expanding the series to add tracks from the CART days (Phoenix, Gateway later this year and Elkhart Lake which is in the conversation with Spa for great racetracks) and making sure that expansion happens while still keeping an eye on finances and profitability. The only big mistake was with the aerokits and they’ll be gone by next year.

    Having seen the races at Milwaukee and Fontana in 2014 and being near Indy at the right time of year, I bought tickets for the race 2 weeks ago. Best decision of the year so far, despite the horrific traffic and 3 hour drive both to & from the track on raceday. At least the predicted thunderstorms waited until 2 hours after the race before hitting Indianapolis.

    The big disappointment was the crowd in stand G celebrating Alonso’s engine failure – cheering, high 5s and the like. That and the 3 hours it took to get to the track, and the 3 it took to get out of town again for the drive back to St Louis.

    I can’t recommend Indycars enough – especially as great drivers with smaller teams still have a realistic chance at winning. And no excuses if you don’t have BT in the UK – give it less than a week and you’ll be able to see the race on YouTube

    1. Chip Hilton
      30th May 2017, 6:32

      Sorry to hear about the jerks. It sounded on TV like most of the crowd gave Alonso a big cheer of appreciation when he got out of the car. I’m also a St. Louisan and looking forward to the Gateway race.

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